Invitation for the Thematic Evening on Tourism and World Heritage Sites

Networking Meeting on Tourism and World Heritage Sites
When: Monday, March 2nd, 6.00 – 8.30 pm Where: Brot für die Welt, Caroline-Michaelis-Str. 1, 10115 Berlin

The World Heritage (WH) title is an important recognition of landscapes, monuments or areas as part of the outstanding universal value of humankind. It should and could serve as a promise of protection of these sites and a benefit for the people living in and around them. In reality, the title is often an entry card to the global tourism map, resulting in a steep increase in tourism numbers.

Sustainable heritage tourism could act as an important additional livelihood option for communities in and around world heritage sites. If managed properly, tourism could contribute to social and economic development. Tourism could also serve as a cooperative instrument to explain traditions and their connections to present life and thus enable mutual understanding and global learning.

On the other hand, tourism can also be a threat to the historical and present values of the sites. Fast and unregulated tourism development often destroys the cultural integrity of the sites and disturbs the livelihoods and lifestyles of local inhabitants. Overuse of scarce resources, land grabs as well as changes from gentrification or overtourism, can further marginalize vulnerable groups in and around the sites. Their right to participation in decision-making is too often ignored.

Welcome and opening remarks by Stephan Dömpke, Chairman, World Heritage Watch
Moderation by Antje Monshausen, Head of Tourism Watch, Brot für die Welt After the presentations, we invite you to further discussions and have a small snack.

Ms. Manana Tevzadze, chair of Blue Shield Georgia and a board member of Blue Shield International, will present her research and work on the role of local communities and civil society organisations in advocating and campaigning for the preservation and conservation of the three world heritage sites in Georgia.

Ms. Nayana Udayashankar, program coordinator of EQUATIONS (Equitable Tourism Options, India) will give insights of their work in two immensely popular WH sites in South India. Listed as Unesco WH sites, Mamallapuram and Hampi are under the jurisdiction of parastatal bodies, which control the planning and management of tourism in the area. Nayana will present the impact and implications from this on local governance and on tourism in the two WH sites.
Please indicate your participation by a short email to

Ein Projekt von World Heritage Watch, gefördert von der Landesstelle für Entwicklungszusammenarbeit Berlin
und dem Aktionsgruppenprogramm von Engagement Global mit Mitteln des BMZ.

We help to preserve our World Heritage!

The sites on the UNESCO list of world cultural and natural heritage are the most valuable monuments, the most important old towns, the most beautiful cultural landscapes and the most breathtaking ecosystems and natural monuments in the world. They are the most important places on the planet to learn about humans and nature on Earth. It is for a reason that the international community has decided to protect them through international law. We cannot and do not want to imagine a world without them.

But more and more world heritage sites are threatened by development pressure, mass tourism, war, resource depletion, urbanization, climate change and investor projects, but also by neglect and mismanagement. On the other hand, UNESCO alone is powerless; it can only warn governments. Civil society worldwide must demand the protection of the sites.

With its network of over 150 groups worldwide, World Heritage Watch ensures that the world heritage is not sacrificed to political compromises and economic interests. We support UNESCO in getting complete and correct information about the situation of the sites. And we help local people to protect their sites and to benefit from them appropriately.

The UNESCO World Heritage sites are no longer just the heritage of a people or a state, but the heritage of all humanity. They are therefore the nuclei of a world civilization. We are all called to preserve them and pass them on to the next generations unscathed.